This is a daily column that will run during the duration of the NHL lockout. It is not meant to depress hockey fans, but is rather intended to provide a reminder of some of the more memorable moments in Philadelphia Flyers' history, and act as a much-needed distraction from the ongoing negativity surrounding the lockout for hockey fans. What must not be forgotten during the labor strife is just how great of a game we have been blessed with to enjoy throughout the years.
The Flyers have put together a 9-5-1-0 overall record -- which includes a 7-3-0-0 mark at home -- on December 7th over the course of franchise history.
Philadelphia has scored 55 goals, while allowing 40 to their opponents in the 15 December 7th contests.
Some of the more memorable moments and brief recaps in Flyers history that took place in December 7th games:
1972: Bill Flett scored twice, Bobby Clarke figured in on four goals, and Michel Belhumeur stopped 30 of 32 shots as the Flyers blitzed the Minnesota North Stars, 6-2, at the Spectrum. It was Philadelphia's second win in a row and fourth straight game without a loss (2-0-2).
Minnesota's Dean Prentice gave the visitors a lead just 36 seconds after the opening faceoff, but tallies from Clarke and Flett turned the game around by the first intermission.
Belhumeur received additional offensive support from Rick MacLeish, Gary Dornhoefer, Tom Bladon, and Flett's second of the contest to pick up his second win of the year.
The goal and three assists gave Clarke five goals and 11 points in a torrid four-game point scoring streak.
Minnesota's Caesar Maniago made 32 saves in the loss.
1975: Reggie Leach scored a pair of goals and Wayne Stephenson made 20 saves to lead the Flyers to a 6-1 triumph over the Minnesota North Stars at the Spectrum.
Goals by Gary Dornhoefer, Joe Watson, and Bill Barber staked Philadelphia to a 3-0 lead after one, and they never looked back the rest of the way. Don Saleski also lit the lamp for Philly.
Rick MacLeish had three helpers for the Flyers, who totally dominated the first and third periods -- outshooting Minnesota 16-4 in the opening frame and 21-5 in the final stanza.
Pete LoPresti turned aside 42 of the 48 Philly shots sent his direction, while the victory gave Stephenson a 7-1-1 record in his last nine starts.
1980: Reggie Leach's goal midway through the third period snapped a 2-2 deadlock and lifted the Flyers to an eventual 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies at the Spectrum.
Down 2-0 nearing the midpoint of regulation on Colorado goals by Merlin Malinowski and Rene Robert, Bill Barber got Philadelphia on the board and Behn Wilson connected on the power play with 31 seconds remaining in the second period to tie the game at 2-2 heading into the final stanza before Leach's game-winner.
Rick MacLeish sealed the outcome with his 17th goal of the year with 1:53 left on the clock. Bobby Clarke and Brian Propp added two helpers apiece.
Phil Myre stopped 18 of the 20 shots he faced to post the win, while Hardy Astrom made 25 saves in defeat.
1985: Murray Craven and Brian Propp each notched two goals and Bob Froese stopped all 23 shots he faced to record his second shutout of the season in a 4-0 blanking of the New York Rangers at the Spectrum. The win broke a three-game losing skid for the Orange-and-Black.
Philadelphia carried play throughout, outshooting the Rangers in each period and 39-23 for the game. The usual animosity also exited, as eight fighting majors were doled out -- including two to new Philly defender Dave Richter.
Winger Bo Berglund -- who was recently acquired from the Minnesota North Stars along with Richter in exchange for defenseman Ed Hospodar and disgruntled forward Todd Bergen -- added two assists in his second appearance in a Flyers uniform. It would be the only points he would record in seven games before being demoted to the AHL's Hershey Bears.
1986: Dave Poulin, Brian Propp, and Scott Mellanby each scored one goal and assisted on another and Ron Hextall turned away 28 of 30 shots as the Flyers snapped a two-game losing skid with a 5-2 triumph over the Edmonton Oilers at the Spectrum.
Poulin started things off right for Philadelphia with a goal just 14 seconds after the opening faceoff, which was followed by goals from Propp, Ed Hospodar (his first since being re-signed as a free agent over the summer), and Peter Zezel to make it a 4-0 first period lead.
After making eight saves on 12 Flyer shots Oilers goaltender Andy Moog was lifted in favor of Grant Fuhr to start the second, and Wayne Gretzky got Edmonton on the board at 4-1 heading into the final stanza.
Mellanby and Mark Messier (shorthanded) traded goals in the third to set the final score.
Pelle Eklund added a pair of helpers in the win.
1989: Ron Sutter beat Daren Puppa with the first shot of overtime 1:24 into the extra session to lift the Flyers to a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at the Spectrum.
Sutter's goal salvaged the win for Philadelphia, who led 3-1 in the third period before yielding two goals -- including the game-tying tally to Rick Vaive with just 11 seconds left on the clock to force overtime.
Rick Tocchet scored a goal and assisted on another two Philadelphia markers, giving him 15 goals and 35 points in 24 appearances for the season, while Jiri Latal notched his first NHL points with a goal and an assist.
Scott Mellanby also scored for the Flyers, and Murray Craven added a pair of helpers.
Ken Wregget picked up the win in a 22-save effort, while Puppa made 33 saves and was collared with the loss.
1991: Rod Brind'Amour led the charge with a pair of third period goals as the Flyers scored four times in the final frame to pull out a 5-3 victory over the Boston Bruins at Boston Garden.
Trailing 3-2, Brind'Amour tied the game 2:28 into the third and notched the game-winner with 3:30 remaining in regulation. Brad Jones added an insurance marker just 16 seconds later.
Pelle Eklund and Mike Ricci also dented the twine for Philadelphia, while Kevin Dineen and Andrei Lomakin assisted on two goals apiece.
Ken Wregget stopped 23 of 26 Bruins offerings to top Reggie Lemelin, who also made 23 saves.
1995: John LeClair, Eric Lindros, and Pat Falloon each scored a pair of goals apiece and Anatoli Semenov snapped a 3-3 deadlock late in the second period for what would be the game-winner in a 7-3 Flyers stampede over the Buffalo Sabres at the Spectrum.
Philadelphia torched Buffalo starter Dominik Hasek for first period goals from LeClair (two) and Lindros to take a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.
Hasek was replaced by Andrei Trefilov to start the second, and the move seemed to shift the momentum to the visitors. Randy Burridge scored with a man advantage in the frame's first minute and the Sabres tied it up on markers by Pat Lafontaine and Doug Houda, before Semenov and Lindros answered prior to the end of the stanza.
Falloon struck twice in the third to ice Buffalo.
The Legion of Doom Line of LeClair (two goals, assist), Lindros (two goals, assist), and Mikael Renberg (two assists) ran amok over the visitors for eight points, while Rod Brind'Amour added a pair of helpers.
Ron Hextall turned aside 18 of 21 Sabre shots in the victory.
2011: Claude Giroux beat Ryan Miller on an overtime breakaway to lift the Flyers to a come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center.
Goals by ex-Flyer Ville Leino, Zach Kassian, and Thomas Vanek staked the home team to a 3-0 lead, with Vanek's coming with 23 seconds remaining in the opening period.
But Maxime Talbot got Philadelphia on the board with just one second left on the clock in what would be a momentum-changing goal.
Matt Read, Scott Hartnell, and Jaromir Jagr scored during the middle stanza as the Flyers roared back to take a 4-3 lead at the second intermission, before Drew Stafford evened things up with 1:35 left in regulation time.
Giroux forged the game-winning goal when he stole a Marc-Andre Gragnani pass and went in all alone on Miller, deking the netminder before shuffling a shot through the five-hole to lift Philly to their third consecutive victory and fifth in six outings -- with three of those five wins coming in extra time.
It was the second game in the last three that the Flyers found themselves down 3-0, only to come back and have Giroux provide overtime heroics. The same scenario unfolded in Anaheim in a 4-3 triumph over the Ducks just five days earlier.
The winning goal wasn't Giroux's only contribution, as Philadelphia's leading scorer also assisted on all three second period markers.
Ilya Bryzgalov recovered from a slow start to make 20 saves in posting his third win in a row and fifth in his last six decisions.
December 7th Flyers Birthdays:
Current Philadelphia centerman Sean Couturier was born in Phoenix, Arizona on this day in 1992. The Flyers were able to gain rights to the eighth-overall selection in the 2011 entry draft by virtue of the Jeff Carter trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and wisely used the pick to grab Couturier. The then 18-year-old made the Flyers squad after an impressive training camp, and showed why many compare his game to that of Jordan Staal. Couturier posted 13 goal (two shorthanded), 27 points, and a +18 rating in a very successful rookie campaign, in which his defensive prowess was used to the club's advantage in shadowing such NHL stars as Pittsburgh Penguins leading scorer Evgeni Malkin. In his first playoff run this past spring, Couturier notched his entire postseason scoring total in one contest. He posted a hat trick and four points in a wild 8-5 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal in Pittsburgh, all the while attempting to keep Malkin in check. It was the first hat trick for a Flyers rookie since defenseman Andy Delmore completed the feat -- also against the Penguins -- in 2000.
On this day in 1983, former-Flyer winger Scottie Upshall was born in Fort McMurray, Alberta. The 6' 0", 185-pounder was acquired from the Nashville Predators in a deal that sent Peter Forsberg to Music City. Upshall made an immediate impact by scoring goals in his first two contests, including the game-winner to beat the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in his Flyers debut. Upshall's feisty style of play made him a fan favorite in Philadelphia, where he recorded 27 goals, 64 points, and 145 penalty minutes in 134 regular season games. During his one Flyers postseason in the spring of 2008 he posted four goals, seven points, and 44 PIMs in 17 contests. In a surprising move in the closing moments before the expiration of the 2009 trade deadline, GM Paul Holmgren sent Upshall to the Phoenix Coyotes in return for agitator Daniel Carcillo.
And last, but certainly not least, in Flyers December 7th birthdays is none other than head coach Peter Laviolette, who was born in Norwood, Massachusetts on this day in 1964. After winning the Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, Lavi took over the reigns in Philadelphia when John Stevens was fired on december 4th, 2009. Laviolette has guided the Orange-and-Black to a 122-73-26 regular season record, and a 23-22 postseason mark, including a trip to the 2010 Cup Final in a six-game loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
As For The Present:
With the lockout now well into its third month and games canceled through December 14th, the official count of games the team has lost all-time due to lockout is now at 147 -- 36 in the shortened 1994/05, the entirety of the 82-game schedule in 2004/05, and 29 thus far this season:
October 11 Boston Bruins @ FLYERS
October 13 FLYERS @ NY Islanders
October 18 Pittsburgh Penguins @ FLYERS
October 20 Winnipeg Jets @ FLYERS
October 25 FLYERS @ Montreal Canadiens
October 27 Toronto Maple Leafs @ FLYERS
October 28 FLYERS @ Buffalo Sabres
October 30 Dallas Stars @ FLYERS
November 1 New Jersey Devils @ FLYERS
November 3 Anaheim Ducks @ FLYERS
November 4 FLYERS @ NY Rangers
November 6 Buffalo Sabres @ FLYERS
November 8 FLYERS @ Carolina Hurricanes
November 10 Carolina Hurricanes @ FLYERS
November 13 Minnesota Wild @ FLYERS
November 16 FLYERS @ Buffalo Sabres
November 17 Buffalo Sabres @ FLYERS
November 21 Ottawa Senators @ FLYERS
November 23 Winnipeg Jets @ FLYERS
November 24 FLYERS @ NY Rangers
November 28 FLYERS @ Toronto Maple Leafs
November 29 FLYERS @ NY Islanders
December 1 FLYERS @ Florida Panthers
December 4 FLYERS @ Tampa Bay Lightning
December 6 San Jose Sharks @ FLYERS
December 8 FLYERS @ New York Islanders
December 9 New York Islanders @ FLYERS
December 11 New Jersey Devils @ FLYERS
December 13 FLYERS @ Washington Capitals
Many Flyers are currently playing as the lockout drags on -- now over 80-day mark -- scattered throughout different leagues in Europe.
After a couple of promising days at the negotiating table that led to optimism throughout the hockey community, there were conflicting signs as the NHLPA requested that a mediator be brought back into the mix again. The strange day ended with accusations from Gary Bettman in an agitated press conference tirade that Donald Fehr was misleading everyone as to just how close the sides were to a deal.
While there is still hope that sanity will somehow prevail and there can still be something to salvage of a 2012-13 NHL season, it is unfortunately again looking like the sides may just be content to self-destruct.